Viaggio nei Fori, Rome: all you need to know about Rome’s most exciting light show

by marta

All you need to know about Viaggio nei Fori (Journey through the Fora), an exciting light show in Rome’s Forum of August and Forum of Caesar the whole family will enjoy.

I love summer nights in Rome and I love history so you can imagine how excited I got when I learned there was an event in Rome that allowed me to enjoy both at the same time: the Viaggio nei Fori light show.

As the name suggests, Viaggio nei Fori is a light show that uses using light effects and projections to lead spectators on a journey through the history of some of the Roman Fora.

The light show introduces the men at the origin of these majestic sites and allows to see how the space would have looked like at the time of its construction, projecting on site the ancient columns, frescoes, statues and mosaics that would have graced these significant public spaces.

With Viaggio nei Fori, spectators can marvel at the majestic size of the Forum of Caesar and Augustus, often hard to gauge now that they are archaeological ruins, and learn about the space and its history.

Individual audio guides deliver an engaging narration that helps to put what you see in its historical context.

Image of Emperor Augustus projected on his Forum during a light show in Rome

We went to this event last summer, with the kids, and we all enjoyed it immensely.

So much so that after participating in the one in the Forum of Augustus, this year we are going again to see the one in the Forum of Caesar.

I highly recommend this event as one of the best things to do in Rome at night in summer and one of the most interesting things to do in Rome with kids who love history.

Viaggio nei Fori show: what it is, what to expect

Viaggio nei Fori is a light show taking place in two locations in Rome city center: the Forum of Augustus and the Forum of Caesar.

Spectators sit on wooden stalls immediately outside the Forum of their choice and are equipped with headphones, connected to the narration of the show, which follows and gives contacts to the light display.

The narrator of the Italian version is Piero Angela, maybe the most famous documentary presenters in Italy and one of the creators of the show.

The show is also available to listen to in Italian, English, French, Russian, Spanish, Japanese, German and Chinese.

The show at the Forum of Caesar happens in Caesar’s Forum on Via dei Fori Imperiali, and focuses on the life events and legacy of one of ancient Rome’s most significant figures.

The show in the Forum of Augustus happens on the other side of the Rome, in Augustus’ Forum.

It follows the main events linked to the life of Rome’s first Emperor and works as a great introduction to his life and legacy.

Both shows are accessible from Via dei Fori imperiali and are a great opportunity to also take an evening walk in this area, stunning at all times yet exceptionally beautiful when lit up under Rome’s dark summer sky.

What does Viaggio nei Fori mean?

In Italian, Viaggio dei Fori means ‘Journey through the Fora’.

Viaggio = Journey (or trip)

nei = in, inside the

Fori = Italian for Fora, plural of Forum

Forum of Augustus lightship info, dates and Tickets

Viaggio nei Fori takes place from 10 June to 2 October 2022

Address: Via Alessandrina, 00184 Roma RM – this is the pedestrian walk running along Via dei Fori Imperiali. You find it immediately to your right if walking down from Via Cavour.

Show schedule (nightly shows)
10 June – 31 July: 9.15pm; 10.15pm; 11.15pm
1 – 31 August:; 10pm; 11pm
1 September – 2 October: 8.15pm; 9.15pm; 10.15pm

Ticket: € 15,00 – Combined: € 25,00
Reduced ticket: € 10,00 – Combined: € 17,00
Categories eligible for reduction: MIC CARD holders, Roma Pass 48h/72h holders, police forces, members of the Military, Journalists, Teachers, Under 26, groups of 10 and up.
Free ticket: visitors with disabilities and one carer, children under 6, EU tourist guides
Pre-sale: € 1,00
Combined pre-sale: € 2,00

You can buy official tickets here

Forum of Caesar light show info, dates and tickets

Viaggio nei Fori shows from 10 June to 2 October 2022

The light show at the Forum of Caesar happens in Caesar’s Forum. Access is from the Forum of Trajan, and more precisely from beside Trajan’s Column, across the road.

Address Via dei Fori Imperiali, 00187 Roma RM

Show schedule (nightly shows)
10 June to 31 July: from 9pm to 11.00pm
1 to 31 August: from 8.40pm to 11.00 pm
1 September to 2 October: from 8pm to 10.20pm

Ticket: € 15,00 – Combined: € 25,00
Reduced ticket: € 10,00 – Combined: € 17,00
Categories eligible for reduction: MIC CARD holders, Roma Pass 48h/72h holders, Police Forces, members of the Military, Journalists, Teachers, Under 26, groups of 10 and up.
Free ticket: visitors with disabilities and one carer, children under 6, EU tourist guides

Pre-sale: € 1,00
Combined pre-sale: € 2,00

The ticket office opens one hour earlier

You can buy official tickets here

Viaggio nei Fori – our experience and the Forum of Augustus

We saw this show on a beautiful summer night last year.

WE got tickets a few days in advance from the official website and, as instructed, we showed up at the show entrance about 10 minutes before the start of the show.

On arrival, we were handed one set of headphone each and an audioguide and quickly found a place to seat.

The seats are tall wooden benches arranged on several levels and they are not numbered.

The place wasn’t busy and we were able to find excellent seats. however, they all seemed really well laid out so it shouldn’t be a problem finding a good location, even arriving last minutes.

The seating area is outside and the light show is therefore visible also from the street without getting tickets. However, with our the narration it is impossible to gauge what the whole thing is about so I highly recommend getting the ticket and follow the show properly.

At the expected time, the show started and it was a marvel.

At the most basic level, the visual element of it is striking and wonderful.

The dark and bare walls of the forum of Augustus quickly came to life with light beams showing where columns would have been and bringing back to life the incredible colors and decorations that time and robbery has entirely stripped form the place.

The narrators’ voice helped understand who Augustus was and what the role and use of the Forum used to be.

It also did a wonderful job at evoking the daily life and business that would have taken place in the Forum and allowed to imagine the coming and goings of ancient Romans across this unique space.

The narration mixes element of history with information about architecture and religion and it is a fantastic way to get aquatinted with a very interesting and significant part of Roman history, often overlooked in favour of the more attention grabbing Colosseum, just down the road.

The Forum light show with kids

We went to the light show in the Forum of Augustus with two children age 9 and 11.

The experience was brilliant for both of them and us.

The narration was on the slightly older side for them and our youngest definitely had moments when the attention would just wander.

However, what she for from the audio and the striking impact of the lights was more than enough to make the experience worth it: so much so that is looking forward to going again this year to see the other one!

Our 11 year old enjoyed it even more and was able to retain more of the historical information shared.

Overall, I recommend this show to families with kids of primary school age with some interest or understanding of Roman history for the best and most significant experience.

Younger kids are likely to enjoy being outdoors and seeing the lights: however, the presence of the tall steps doesn’t make the place suitable for toddler who Amy want to run around. This is very much a sit down type of show!

The show in the Forum of Caesar is not very stroller friendly so I recommend leaving the stroller at home if going with a toddler of opting for the Forum of Augustus instead.

While not stroller firefly wither, it will be easier here to fold the stroller and keep it beside you while the forum of Caesar has steps and a less straightforward forward access.

What will you learn from Viaggio nei Fori

What you will learn at the Forum of Caesar

The light show at the Forum of Caesar, starts from the interesting history of the excavations of the area.

During Fascist times, 1,500 construction workers razed to the ground the neighborhood that has developed over the ancient fora and dug out this ancient site.

It then moves onto the story of the remains of the majestic Temple of Venus, built by Julius Caesar after his victory over Pompey and fundamental to the mythology of Rome, believed to have been founded by descendants from Roman God and goddess Mars and Venus.

Though light reconstruction, the narrator then lead the spectators into the bustling daily life of Ancient Rome, brings to life the ancient tabernae (shops and businesses) and even shows us the peculiar remains of an ancient public toilet!

As well as ldaily life in Rome, the show is a great way to get aquatinted with the figure of Julius Caesar and the destruction that led to the building of its forum.

It teaches us how Caesar demolished an entire neighborhood to build his forum (interesting parallelism here with more recent history!),  and how spent 100 million gold coins for this, the equivalent of at least 300 million euros.

The show also focuses on the changes that Julius Caesar brought to Rome’s political system, with a weakening of hte seat and the slow but steady growth of individual power.

Projection showing how the ancient temple of Mars in the Forum of Augustus in Rome would have looked

What you will leat and the Forum of Augusts

The light show in the Forum of Augustus starts with the story of the construction of the Temple of Mars the Avenger, constructed by Augustus to honour the memory of his great uncle Julius Caesar.

Vindicating Caesar was at the center of the early actions of the future emperor of Rome and the importance of this event is easy to appreciate when you see the temple coming back to life in front of you.

The temple was as tall as a 9-storey building and dominated the access the halls of the Courts, hosted in the Forum.

The narration then moves onto the immense statue of Augustus, now lost, and likely almost 12 meters tall (only a 1.66 meter-long footprint remains of it)

Then, thought the story of the large areas still standing in front of us, the narrator paints a picture of what life in the forum would have been like and you can easily imagine the ancient Romand going about hie daily tasks and affairs in this space.

The back wall of the forum is as tall as an 11-storey building, it has been standing for 2,000 years and even survived an earthquakes in 1703, which damaged the Colosseum.

What to wear to see Viaggio nei Fori light show

What to wear at this show depends on the season and the location of the show.

In summer, you will need light clothing: in August, the temperature was perfect for shorts and scrappy tops and there was no need for any additional layer.

If you go to the show in mid September of later, then you will need an extra layer and potentially even a jacket as the evenings can get pretty chilly!

If you are going to the show in the forum of Caesar, it is advisable to wear walking shoes or at least to avoid heels, since you will be passing part of the archaeological area that may have boardwalks (terrible for heels!) and potentially slightly uneven terrain.

What else to see in the area

Viaggio nei Fori takes place in the very center of Rome, on the road connecting Piazza Venezia with the Colosseums.

As such, coming to this show at night will allow you to see many of Rome’s most significant monuments all lit up. In particular, you will see:

Vittoriano – Altar to the Fatherland

Forum of Trajan – Just beside that of Augustus and graced by the wonderful Trajan’s Column

The Roman Forum – no need for introductions here!

The Colosseum – not just lit up but also open at night with special events just for summer.

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